Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
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Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Dress: Gap (similar here); Jacket: Old Navy; Hat: Purchased at Chiang Mai’s famous Sunday Market; Earrings: Banana Republic; Sunglasses: Sunglass Shop

Prior to my time in Thailand, my observations and experiences with monks and the Buddhist religion were understandably miniscule. For example, who knew monks like taking selfies just like us? Anyways, when we arrived in Chiang Mai, I was excited to visit the sacred temple of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep.

Located on Doi Suthep mountain, and perched above beautiful Chiang Mai, visiting Doi Suthep is a staple to your Chiang Mai visit, as it is a “north star” of sorts to the city. My friend Ellie, who is living in Chiang Mai (you can follow her blog here!), shared that you can always see Doi Suthep, day or night, clear skies or foggy!

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep    Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

The legend behind Doi Suthep begins with a monk and his dream. The monk, Sumanthera, dreamt himself instructions for a grand adventure to Pang Cha in search of a relic. Sumanthera’s quest began and ultimately delivered a bone that many believed to be Buddha’s shoulder bone. The bone exhibited magical powers, so Sumanthera took the relic to the King. As it always seems to happen when you want to show something off, the relic did not exhibit the magical powers (and all I can imagine Sumanthera saying is, “it glowed five minutes ago!”). The king, doubtful of the bone’s magical powers and authenticity, told our monk to keep it.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

However, another king heard of Sumanthera’s magical bone and requested he bring the bone to him and this time, the bone revealed its magical powers and broke into two pieces. So one piece was sent to one temple, and the other piece was placed on the back of a white elephant that was released into the jungle. The elephant climbed Doi Suthep mountain (quite a trek if you ask me!), trumpeted three times and then dropped dead of exhaustion. Taken as an omen, the king immediately ordered the construction of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. And there you have it folks. An abridged version of a 900 year old legend.

From watching people circling the temple with flowers, to smelling the burning incense, to listening to people reciting prayers, to feeling all the textures of the walls, and fabrics (also there was delicious gelato waiting for me just outside the temple!), visiting Doi Suthep can only be described as a completely sensory experience.

-Chelsea

We are currently in Vietnam, follow along on Instagram!

LocationLOCATION: Chiang Mai


    • Right! The gold was so bright and beautiful when we walked into the temple. At first I was hesitant to take photos but after seeing the monks take selfies, I thought it was okay :)

  1. I so miss Thailand! Such a gorgeous country and the temples are so amazing! I loved learning about the Buddhist religion as well and it just seems so peaceful. The people in that country are just so wonderful. Gorgeous photos!

    Denise | Fashion Love Letters

    • Hi Denise!

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment! I completely agree! Thailand is so beautiful and really such a calming place with all of the temples!

  2. Oh wow, what an amazing-looking place and such an interesting story too. (Loved “well it glowed 5 minutes ago” LOL.) And any place with gelato nearby… I’m in! :)

    • Right, gelato is so delicious but it was all the Thai noodles that really did me in! I just love noodles even more than gelato!

    • Thank you! I feel so lucky to have a forum to share these photos and that people are able to enjoy them with me!

    • Hi Kimberley! Thank you for the sweet words :) I have no doubt, after looking through your blog, that you would look even more fashionable! I loved your last post! Cannot wait to follow along!

    • I know! My mom took the elevator up because she was over heating, so I was glad it was there so she could enjoy the sights!

    • Thank you Hailey! I have just discovered my love and passion for maxi dresses! They are amazing for traveling!

    • Nope, you really cant! The Wats are just beautiful, colorful and everything in between and I totally agree, the smell of burning incense is so calming.

    • Thanks Sarah! Traveling through Thailand was a very special experience and I cannot wait to go back one day!

    • Hi Hilary! Thank you for your kind words :) I checked out your blog and it looks beautiful! Looking forward to following along.

  3. I had no idea they liked taking selfies with us!
    One funny thing is that we live near a gorgeous Peace Pagoda. I took my son there to see the sights and we saw a Monk walking towards us. My son shouted out, “Hey!” And the man shouted back, “Hey you!” My son is two and it made his day.
    Your photos are gorgeous. Glad to have found your blog.

    • Thank you Tamara! Also your son’s exchange with the Monk sounds absolutely darling! I think I would have been so excited too :)

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